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City of Lingering Splendour
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In his early twenties, John Blofeld spent what he describes as "three exquisitely happy years" in Peking during the era of the last emperor, when the breathtaking greatness of China's ancient traditions was still everywhere evident. Arriving in 1934, he found a city imbued with the atmosphere of the recent imperial past and haunted by the powerful spirit of the late Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi. He entered a world of magnificent palaces and temples of the Forbidden City, of lotus-covered lakes and lush pleasure-gardens, of bustling bazaars and peaceful bathhouses, and of "flower houses" with their beautiful young courtesans versed in the arts of pleasing men. With a novelists' command of detail and dialogue, Blofeld vividly re-creates the magic of these years and conveys to the reader his appreciation and nostalgia for a way of life long vanished.
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John Blofeld (1913Â 1987) was a world-renowned scholar and writer who devoted his life to the study of Eastern religion, especially Taoism and Buddhism.

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